The saw-tooth phenomenon on the binding energy curve of N = Z nuclei is due to the low binding energy between the α-particles. It was suspected by Gamow to be of van der Waals type, found here to be deuteron bonds. The binding energy per nucleon, in absolute value, of an α-particle is larger than any other combination of 4 nucleons. Therefore, the binding energy per nucleon is low for odd-odd N = Z nuclei and maximum for even-even N = Z nuclei. The assumption of N = Z nuclei to be an assembly of α-particles and deuteron bonds predicts the binding energy of the 32 first N = Z nuclei with a rms deviation of 0.25 MeV.
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